Heinz has concluded its search for a Dominican sailor who made headlines after he spent almost a month adrift in the Caribbean Sea in January. The company gave a public call on social media on February 14, 2023, for help saying they were struggling to get in touch with him.   

How was he rescued?

The sailor said he spent 24 days in the Caribbean Sea on a sailboat in January. After being rescued by the Colombian merchant ship, the 47-year-old sailor told officials that he had survived off of a bottle of ketchup, garlic powder, and Maggi stock cubes, which he mixed with water.

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It has been nearly a month since the Colombian Navy’s announced that it rescued such a sailor. The Dominican sailor was later identified as Elvis Francois. After being rescued by a merchant ship, the man’s sailboat, which he had to constantly drain water from to prevent sinking, was abandoned.

He was reportedly repairing his boat off the island of Saint Martin in December when his boat was pulled out to sea. He admitted to Columbian authorities that he lacked navigational knowledge to return to shore, thus spending 24 days lost at sea.

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He was rescued after a plane spotted his sailboat with “help” engraved into the hull, according to Colombian authorities.

Why Heinz is giving Francois a new boat?

After the ketchup giant asked for public help to find Francois, it finally tracked him down. Now it plans to gift him a new boat. 

Heinz said it successfully found Francois with help of local reporters in Dominica working in EmoNews, reported CNN. The company had earlier said that they planned to gift him “a new, state-of-the-art boat” to celebrate his safe return.

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“We were able to connect with him and discuss the best way to help support him and his family,” the company said. It was reportedly planning out the logistical details of gifting him his new boat. The company also appreciated the positive role that social media played in locating the sailor.